Welcome to the second edition of RTO7’s staff picks of the month as we share our experiences and recommendations of the courses offered on Typsy, the on-line training platform that is available free-of charge to those that work in tourism in BruceGreySimcoe. This month, there’s been some overlap with staff taking the same courses, with totally different takeaways from each course.
The training is open to all levels of employers and employees – business owners, managers, full-time and part-time staff, and seasonal employees. After you’ve read about our choices below, we encourage you to try Typsy out for yourself and to share this awesome training tool with your staff and co-workers.
The link to more information on Typsy, how to sign up and the Typsy Employee Incentive Program can be found at the bottom of the page.
Typsy Pick of the Month: Problem Solving and Creative Thinking
Bill Sullivan, CEO, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Have you ever been extremely successful at solving a problem and the next day the ideas needed to solve a problem do not come to you. This course provides solutions to successfully action Problem Solving and Creative Thinking approaches to the ‘Opportunity’ before you. I found that this course challenged me to think differently in ways to resolve issues but it also reinforced processes that I already use on a daily basis but did not recognize I was doing it. I found that I repeated a few lessons because there was so much information to understand. I have made a note in my calendar to repeat this course in a couple of weeks as I am working through our 2023/24 Business Plan. This may be one of the longer courses but well worth it considering the challenges we are facing in the Tourism Industry.
Allison Davies, Communication Assistant, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
After doing your job day in and day out, it may seem like there’s no time to stop, reflect and get creative. Problem Solving and Creative Thinking led by Ioannis Pantedelis offers some great insight on how to build inspiring team activities and thoughtful individual reflections into your workplace. Does this seem too intangible to you? Pantedelis reminds us that organizations who encourage creativity have higher staff retention—and in today’s tight workforce that, alone, should make this worthwhile. I enjoyed the mini assignments at the end of each course that have you putting pen to paper and beginning the creative process right away. The course also encourages you to look beyond the hospitality industry for solutions. Best takeaway for me: There are no bad ideas, only ideas that help you develop better ideas.
More About Bill
Bill Sullivan is the CEO of Regional Tourism Organization 7, BruceGreySimcoe. Bill has over 40 years in senior management roles within the hospitality and tourism industry in rural Ontario. Bill’s operational experience during previous booms, recessions, emergencies, pandemics is assisting the industry on its road to recovery. Bill is responsible for strategic planning and operations of the organization. Prior to joining RTO7, Bill held progressive management positions over a 30-year career in resort operations. Bill received his education in the Hospitality and Tourism program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).
More About Allison
Allison Davies is a writer, photographer and content creator who has worked for Regional Tourism Organization 7 in the Communication Assistant role for 5 years. As a trained photojournalist, she worked for many local DMOs on both writing and photography projects before joining the RTO7 team full time. Today she uses those skills to help support tourism operators by marketing the region through social media and web content. She has an English Literature degree from McGill University and a Photojournalism Diploma from Loyalist College. In her free time, Allison loves to shoot sports and continues to write for several magazines on a freelance basis.
Alex Hogan, Project & Administration Manager, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Customer (Experiential) Service
This one’s a quickie! In less than 15 minutes, Amanda Stevens covers key principles to make your customer’s experience over and above. It’s couched in a dining example, but the principles apply to pretty much any situation. I have encountered absolutely stellar customer service once in my life and it’s etched in my memory – it happened to be at a chain hotel – and I will always associate that brand with the experience. It’s good common sense with some good examples - great to have a refresher in aiming to delight your customers!
More About Alex
Alex Hogan is the Program & Administration Manager at RTO7 and has over 20 years’ experience managing a wide variety of projects. Alex brings strong communication and organizational skills to projects to meet the needs and objectives of partners and projects. She manages the Partnership Program, as well as contributing to sustainable tourism and workforce development projects. Prior to RTO7, Alex managed training projects for a Toronto based environmental consulting company specializing in waste management and climate change issues. She graduated from Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.
Typsy Pick of the Month: Effective Communication Essentials
Ginny Henry, Communication Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Did you know that 55% of communication is actually non-verbal? Communication, which seems a simple concept, is much more complex than it seems on the surface and involves more than speaking and writing. The course is presented as a common sense, practical approach to improving your communication skills on a variety of levels. My biggest learning from the course: there is always a way to be a better communicator so you can be clearly understood and better understand others. Just under 45 minutes long, this course is well worth the time invested.
Kim Clarke, Manager, Stakeholder Relations RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
I’m blown away by how much information I learned in 42 short minutes. This course reviews what makes effective communicators from variety of forms, written, non-verbal, language, and explains the theory behind effective communication. Priya Bates does an excellent job explaining the theory and practical applications of effective communication techniques. The examples bring an entertaining element to the information. I would highly recommend this course!
More About Ginny
Ginny Henry is the Communication Coordinator at Regional Tourism Organization 7 / BruceGreySimcoe. Her career in the tourism industry started from the “bottom up”, with a summer job cleaning toilets and rooms at a family-run motel in Port Elgin, Ontario just over 40 years ago. Many of her job choices were inspired by the words, “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do”, with a strong focus on customer service, tourism, event organization and small business support. Her role at RTO7 includes social media, overseeing the seasonal partnership/image campaigns, newsletters, website content and pretty much anything communication-related that crops up. Ginny has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.
More About Kim
Kim Clarke is the Manger, Stakeholder Relations at Regional Tourism Organization 7, BruceGreySimcoe. Kim has spent over 15 years in the tourism industry working in destination development and management. She works closely with a variety of stakeholders to help them create amazing new experiences, managing visitation and works to find solutions to the workforce crisis. Kim is the lead for the experience and workforce development files at RTO7. She received her formal education, Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Amanda Pausner, Experience & Administration Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Interacting with Guests
This is one of RTO7’s recommended courses when you are working within any of our programs. I highly recommend, though, that every frontline tourism and hospitality employee take it. The course takes 49 minutes to complete, but each five-minute section concentrates on ways for staff to develop rapport and build a relationship (professionally) with guests. Customer service basics are provided which we can all be reminded of. The downloadable toolkits, resources and presenter’s tips and tricks are exceptional. Beatrice Gallo is highly engaging. This is a MUST for your frontline staff.
More About Amanda
Amanda has worked in the tourism industry for over 23 years. She joined the RTO7 team in 2018 in her current position as Experience & Administration Coordinator. She assists with administration duties, programs offered by RTO7 and, over the last two years, has led the T3 Accelerator Coaching Program, which supports small businesses in Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties. Previously, she worked with Grey County Tourism for 16 years, managing operator relations and working as a media relations specialist, showcasing what the area had to offer. While taking the Tourism Management course at Georgian College, Barrie she spent her summers with the Owen Sound Transportation Company (MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry). In her spare time, Amanda enjoys travelling with her family of four and working in her many veggie gardens.
Robyn Hewitt, Program Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Strengthening Resilience
This is a course I have been wanting to review for some time now and it was well worth the 40 minutes committed! One of the quotes that sticks out from this lesson is that “being resilient is not a personality trait, it’s a learning process”. We can all develop the skills required to improve our resilience in the face of adversity. This course will provide you with activities, techniques, and frameworks so you can add them to your toolbox and strengthen resilience over time. You will also learn some very simple strategies to foster a resilient workplace, reduce burnout and improve overall morale. I think these are excellent tips that may help maintain your existing staff through the current labour crisis. This course is great for established and aspiring leaders looking to strengthen personal and professional resilience and set an example for others.
More About Robyn
Robyn joined RTO7 as the Program Coordinator in August 2021 and brings a diverse background with almost 20 years of experience in various capacities of sales, marketing, and partnership development in the hospitality and tourism industry. Much of her experience is within the hotel sector where she specialized in the leisure travel trade, selling multiple properties within the Marriott family of brands. She has experience in creating integrated sales and marketing strategies and has managed the digital marketing for a large urban hotel. Robyn oversees the RTO7 Implementation Programs (OIP, SIP, RIP), as well as the administration of the Typsy training platform. She received a Business Commerce Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and completed a Certificate of Digital Marketing Management through the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.